Suicide Silence - Become The Hunter review


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Band: Suicide Silence
Album: Become The Hunter
Release date: February 2020

01. Meltdown
02. Two Steps
03. Feel Alive
04. Love Me To Death
05. In Hiding
06. Death's Anxiety
07. Skin Tight
08. The Scythe
09. Serene Obscene
10. Disaster Valley
11. Become The Hunter

Return to the known.

After the resounding whipping the self-titled album received three years ago, Suicide Silence seem to take note of the backlash (how could they not?) and attempted to remedy the situation on the follow up, 2020's Become The Hunter.

Is the album better than the self-titled will likely be the first question on your lips and to be blunt, yes, it is better than the self-titled, though that is an easy task to manage, given that any step up from rock bottom is progress. Become The Hunter does see the band carry the scars somewhat and they play it very safe here. While this isn't a bad thing, it leaves the band alone somewhat in moving closer to their traditional deathcore sound as the scene has faded out and many of their peers moved away from their roots, like Whitechapel and the Devil Wears Prada.

As a result of this return to their roots, Suicide Silence produce a very safe and down the middle version of deathcore; as mentioned prior, whether this is something you want in 2020 is down to you, but it does seem like the band are appealing to a very niche audience. The album does have all the hallmarks of a deathcore album, the downtuned and bottom-ended audio assault with harsh vocals on top with breakdowns aplenty. It does feel somewhat refreshing as a throwback to a sound that has long been experimented with since the heydays of the scene, to the extent that hearing a pure undistilled version is more attention-grabbing than the experimentation in recent times.

The first half of this album revels in the traditional sound and songs like "Feel Alive" and "Love Me To Death" prove early highlights, setting a solid benchmark for the album. Sounding like songs that could have come out of the glory days of the genre, they are solid entries into the band's back catalogue and help close the door on the prior release.

It is then from about "Death's Anxiety" that this focus on the traditional sound becomes overkill; what begins as a kickback for fans eventually becomes a chore towards the album's end, making you remember why bands had long given up purity for experimentation. "Serene Obscene" does give you false hope that the band were to offer a much-needed palette cleanser, before revealing itself as a bait and switch once the intro section finishes. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing if you purposefully narrow your range as much as the band do.

The production is very hit and miss, with some elements benefitting from the sound this album has whereas other parts just don't work. The biggest miss of the whole album are the drums, sounding flat and one-dimensional throughout, feeling very mechanical and robotic rather than brimming with life and naturally powerful. The guitars and vocals are the biggest beneficiaries of the album, with the production sounding built around them first and foremost. Overall it creates an uneven listening experience as you have the contrast front and centre throughout the album.

The band themselves are solid and remind listeners why they were the kings of the genre, with Garza and Heylmum ensuring each song has a decent riff and rhythm in them before they descend into similar staidness. Hermida is on top of his game and screams his throat raw throughout this album, points for commitment at the very least. It's just for all their talent and quality playing their instruments, the band walk down a narrow cul de sac creatively.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for a solid call back to the glory days of deathcore or to be able to listen to a Suicide Silence record without putting your head in your hands, then Become The Hunter is the record for you. While it does overload itself to its detriment, it is a good start to reversing direction away from 2017's offering.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 8


Written on 26.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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